Frequently asked questions relating to Waterbeach leasehold conveyancing
I have recently realised that I have Sixty One years left on my flat in Waterbeach. I am keen to extend my lease but my freeholder is can not be found. What options are available to me?
On the basis that you meet the appropriate requirements, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can apply to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have made all reasonable attempts to track down the freeholder. In some cases a specialist would be useful to conduct investigations and to produce an expert document to be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is advisable to get professional help from a property lawyer both on investigating the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court overseeing Waterbeach.
My wife and I purchased a leasehold flat in Waterbeach. Conveyancing and Barclays Direct mortgage are in place. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the freehold. It included a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1997. The conveyancing solicitor in Waterbeach who previously acted has long since retired.Do I pay?
The first thing you should do is contact HMLR to make sure that this person is in fact the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to incur the fees of a Waterbeach conveyancing practitioner to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.
I've recently bought a leasehold house in Waterbeach. Do I have any liability for service charges relating to a period prior to completion of my purchase?
In a situation where the service charge has already been demanded from the previous owner and they have not paid you would not usually be personally liable for the arrears. However, your landlord may still be able to take action to forfeit the lease. It is an essential part of leasehold conveyancing for your conveyancer to be sure to have an up to date clear service charge receipt before completion of your purchase. If you have a mortgage this is likely to be a requirement of your lender.
If you purchase part way through an accounting year you may be liable for charges not yet demanded even if they relate to a period prior to your purchase. In such circumstances your conveyancer would normally arrange for the seller to set aside some money to cover their part of the period (usually called a service charge retention).
I am a negotiator for a long established estate agent office in Waterbeach where we have witnessed a number of flat sales derailed as a result of short leases. I have received contradictory information from local Waterbeach conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the vendor of a flat can initiate the lease extension process for the purchaser on completion of the sale?
Provided that the seller has been the owner for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to sit tight for 2 years to extend their lease. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment has to be done before, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
An alternative approach is to agree the lease extension with the freeholder either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the buyer.
We expect to complete the disposal of our £325000 garden flat in Waterbeach next Friday . The management company has quoted £360 for Landlord’s certificate, building insurance schedule and 3 years statements of service charge. Is it legal for a freeholder to charge an administration fee for a leasehold conveyance in Waterbeach?
Waterbeach conveyancing on leasehold flats often requires the purchaser’s conveyancer submitting questions for the landlord to address. Although the landlord is under no legal obligation to address these enquiries most will be content to assist. They are entitled levy a reasonable administration fee for answering enquiries or supplying documentation. There is no set fee. The average costs for the information that you are referring to is £350, in some cases it is above £800. The administration charge demanded by the landlord must be sent together with a synopsis of rights and obligations in respect of administration charges, without which the invoice is not strictly payable. Reality however dictates that you have no choice but to pay whatever is demanded should you wish to exchange contracts with the buyer.
Waterbeach Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Examples of Questions you should ask before Purchasing
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How much is the annual maintenance fee and ground rent?